Happy 75th, Elvis Wherever You Are
No, this is not Elvis. It's Bill Driggers - 1974.
One night in January of 1974 Lt. Bill Driggers stopped in to shoot the breeze with me while I manned the desk at the Lancaster Police Department. He was not only a great cop but was also the kind of guy who should have been on a stage. He was one of two detectives in our department and was funnier than anyone I ever met. He told some of the most outrageous stories. His philosophy on police work was “We don’t make much money, but we have a lot of fun.”
He noticed that I was not my usual charming self and asked what was wrong. I told him that while I was in Columbia going through the Criminal Justice Academy an Elvis concert had been announced in Charlotte and the tickets sold out the first day.
“Know anybody in Charlotte?” I asked.
“I might.” He replied. “Let me see what I can do.”
That was it. End of conversation. Weeks passed and I forgot that I had mentioned it to him. Then one day he walked up and gave me this letter.
Yes, I still have it 35 years later!
I was dumbfounded. When I asked Bill how he got this done, he laughed then mumbled something about a bank robbery, my heroics and said not to worry about it. If he told Chief Porter any such story there was absolutely no truth in it ..... and I could not have cared less. The man had gotten me tickets to Elvis’s SOLD OUT CONCERT! To this day I don’t know what he said to make this happen.
But wait, there’s more. We got to the old Charlotte Coliseum, parked, waited in line and showed out tickets. We went down, and down and down some more. Imagine my excitement when I figured out our seats were on the stage floor. Then we were ushered forward, and forward and holy crap we were 10 rows from the front! May I remind you this was at a concert that SOLD OUT in one day!
When the lights went down after the intermission and the theme song from 2001 A Space Odyssey began well.... lets just say it was awesome! I have been to a few concerts in my time and no band, no single performer, no one has the stage presence of Elvis. No one.
Just about as far back as I can remember, Elvis was part of my life. Our family used to go to the drive-in once in a while and we saw a lot of Elvis movies there. I remember “It Happened at the World Fair, G. I. Blues and Flaming Star and I think we saw them all the same night! For those who don’t know a drive-in is kind of like a dvd player except the screen is not in your car but outside, you can only see it at night and mosquitos eat you alive in the summer!
Anyway in November of 1968 I happened to be watching NBC when Elvis hit the little screen. While my classmates were all into the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the rest, I became a huge fan of Elvis. You can have you’re “Blowin in the Wind” and your “Satisfaction” and I will take “Trouble/Guitar Man” every single time.
Over the years many things have changed, for me and for all of us, I suppose. I have married, retired, been blessed with good fortune, good health and wonderful granddaughters. But I am still Taking Care of Business. (That is Elvis’ motto for the uninformed.)
A few months ago, I started teaching my granddaughter, Maddie, an Elvis song. I found a video from Speedway with Elvis singing “You’re Time hasn’t Come Yet, Baby” to a little girl. She watched the thing over and over. Then we practiced it as a duet for a few days. She learned the words, put her own growl into it and we are quite the pair singing it! I will spare you that and show you the original.
Now comes the dicey part of this hub. The last time Maddie and I were singing this she stopped and turned her little face up to me and asked the dreaded question.
"Pop, he is dead isn't he?"
How do you answer a question like that?
I believe that as long as we remember the man and his music, as long as we find peace in it, as long as it helps us through this troubled world, as long as we share it with our children and grandchildren Elvis will never die.
“When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.”
-From his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award. Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971. (Elvis quotes from copyrighted material with lines from the song “Without a Song”.)
You may be gone, but you are not forgotten. Thanks for the memories!
Keep on singin' the song, wherever you are!
Here is a link to the Official Elvis web site.
- Elvis Presley - Official web site for Elvis Presley
Welcome to the Official Elvis Presley Web Site, home of the undisputed King of Rock 'n' Roll and his beloved Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee
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